Rangers edge past Servette to set up PSV play-off


Rangers squeezed through to a Champions League play-off against PSV Eindhoven after surviving a fraught night against Servette in sweltering Geneva.

A header from captain James Tavernier – so often Rangers’ European talisman – salvaged a second-leg draw and slender aggregate win.

Rangers’ 2-1 lead from Ibrox had been nullified as Dereck Kutesa whipped a wonderful finish into the top corner in a torrid first half for the visitors.

Danilo was guilty of an astonishing miss for Michael Beale’s side – spooning over an open goal – but Rangers improved after the break, and substitute Cyriel Dessers ought to have made the victory more comfortable.

Rangers will host PSV, who thumped Sturm Graz 7-2 on aggregate, next Tuesday before the return in Eindhoven the following week.

A containment job was not part of Rangers’ thinking in Switzerland, with Beale pledging to attack rather than look to protect on the first-leg advantage.

However, his side’s sprightly start soon evaporated and they were indebted to Jack Butland for two huge saves to deny Timothe Cognat and Kutesa either side of the opener as Servette caused havoc on the counter-attack.

Danilo ought to have swiftly restored Rangers’ aggregate advantage, only to somehow sclaff over the unguarded net from four yards after being picked out by Jose Cifuentes’ terrific delivery. It was Brazilian striker Danilo’s first – and only – touch in the Servette box during the opening 45 minutes.

The interval came as welcome relief for the visitors. They regrouped and emerged re-energised, with Tavernier pouncing at the back post to meet a superb cross from Borna Barisic and power his header past Joel Mall.

Rangers diligently limited Servette’s threat thereafter and Dessers sent a header an inch too high then hit the post late on as chances to put the tie beyond doubt went begging.

Player of the match – Nicolas Raskin

The Belgian was a tigerish presence in midfield and won 13 duels - the most of any Rangers player - as the visitors turned the tide
The Belgian was a tigerish presence in midfield and won 13 duels – the most of any Rangers player – as the visitors turned the tide

Job done but room for improvement – analysis

Rangers looked bang in trouble at half-time, but the nature of their response will hearten Beale as his reshaped side tries to find its feet.

They denied Servette space down the flanks after the break and controlled midfield, where Cifuentes looks an impressive addition and Nicolas Raskin continues to thrive.

Further forward Rangers look disjointed, though, and Danilo in particular cut a forlorn figure. The Brazilian, who arrived from PSV for a hefty fee this summer, struggled to link play and his glaring miss was followed by Dessers failing to add a killer touch.

Rangers are unlikely to get away with such profligacy against PSV as they look to defeat the Dutch for the second season running to reach the group stage.

What did they say?

Rangers manager Michael Beale: “We made a really slow start, we needed to dig in. At half-time we had to have some strong words as it wasn’t what we were looking for.

“It was an excellent goal we scored. After that we could’ve extended our lead. The team showed a fantastic mentality. I was pleased with the second half.”

What’s next?

Rangers kick off their League Cup campaign at home to Greenock Morton on Saturday (12:30 BST), then welcome to PSV to Ibrox next Tuesday for the first leg of their Champions League play-off.

Player of the match

ButlandJack Butland

with an average of 7.11


  1. Squad number17Player nameKutesa

  2. Squad number9Player nameStevanovic

  3. Squad number27Player nameCrivelli

  4. Squad number8Player nameCognat

  5. Squad number4Player nameRouiller

  6. Squad number30Player nameDiba

  7. Squad number23Player nameRodelin

  8. Squad number21Player nameGuillemenot

  9. Squad number5Player nameOndoua

  10. Squad number6Player nameBaron

  11. Squad number33Player nameVouilloz

  12. Squad number29Player nameBedia

  13. Squad number18Player nameMazikou

  14. Squad number11Player nameFofana

  15. Squad number1Player nameMall

  16. Squad number19Player nameSeverin


  1. Squad number1Player nameButland

  2. Squad number43Player nameRaskin

  3. Squad number13Player nameCantwell

  4. Squad number2Player nameTavernier

  5. Squad number15Player nameCifuentes

  6. Squad number31Player nameBarisic

  7. Squad number8Player nameJack

  8. Squad number6Player nameGoldson

  9. Squad number14Player nameLammers

  10. Squad number19Player nameSima

  11. Squad number9Player nameDessers

  12. Squad number21Player nameSterling

  13. Squad number20Player nameDowell

  14. Squad number5Player nameSouttar

  15. Squad number99Player nameDanilo



Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Mall
  • 33Vouilloz
  • 4Rouiller
  • 19Severin
  • 18MazikouSubstituted forBaronat 77′minutes
  • 21GuillemenotBooked at 70minsSubstituted forFofanaat 77′minutes
  • 5OndouaBooked at 11minsSubstituted forDibaat 71′minutes
  • 8CognatBooked at 89mins
  • 17KutesaSubstituted forStevanovicat 71′minutes
  • 27Crivelli
  • 29BediaSubstituted forRodelinat 85′minutes


  • 6Baron
  • 7Pflücke
  • 9Stevanovic
  • 11Fofana
  • 12Kaloga
  • 23Rodelin
  • 30Diba
  • 31Ouattara
  • 40Aubert
  • 44Besson
  • 45Touati
  • 68Onguéné


Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Butland
  • 2Tavernier
  • 6Goldson
  • 5Souttar
  • 31Barisic
  • 15CifuentesSubstituted forSterlingat 84′minutes
  • 8Jack
  • 43Raskin
  • 19SimaSubstituted forLammersat 61′minutes
  • 99Pereira da SilvaSubstituted forDessersat 61′minutes
  • 13CantwellSubstituted forDowellat 90+6′minutes


  • 7Hagi
  • 9Dessers
  • 14Lammers
  • 20Dowell
  • 21Sterling
  • 23Wright
  • 27Balogun
  • 28McCrorie
  • 32Wright
  • 38King
  • 44Devine
  • 48Lyall

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Servette 1, Rangers 1.

  2. Second Half ends, Servette 1, Rangers 1.

  3. Sam Lammers (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  4. Foul by Ronny Rodelin (Servette).

  5. Substitution, Rangers. Kieran Dowell replaces Todd Cantwell.

  6. Attempt missed. Samba Diba (Servette) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Miroslav Stevanovic with a cross.

  7. Attempt saved. Sam Lammers (Rangers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

  8. Attempt blocked. Miroslav Stevanovic (Servette) header from the right side of the box is blocked.

  9. Corner, Servette. Conceded by Todd Cantwell.

  10. Corner, Servette. Conceded by Connor Goldson.

  11. Timothé Cognat (Servette) is shown the yellow card.

  12. Foul by Sam Lammers (Rangers).

  13. Miroslav Stevanovic (Servette) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Substitution, Servette. Ronny Rodelin replaces Chris Bedia.

  15. Foul by Sam Lammers (Rangers).

  16. Steve Rouiller (Servette) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Substitution, Rangers. Dujon Sterling replaces José Cifuentes because of an injury.

  18. Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  19. Delay in match because of an injury José Cifuentes (Rangers).

  20. Attempt saved. Samba Diba (Servette) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Miroslav Stevanovic.

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